Columbus County is the right place for opportunity and industry in southeastern North Carolina. 


Our trained workforce and close proximity to the state port at Wilmington and interstate highway systems conveniently position Columbus County for manufacturing and distribution.

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Southeastern Community College and Columbus Career and College Academy offer opportunities in food processing certification and HACCP training. Onsite training is available for local industry to meet workforce development needs.


Columbus County economic development partners with both the state of North Carolina and the Columbus Jobs Foundation to provide attractive incentive packages to industrial firms looking to locate within the county.


Southeast Regional Park is a triple certified park on 160 acres with an additional 85 acres available. The industrial park is located on Highway 130 (Chadbourn Hwy.) in Whiteville, N.C.


Ready workforce and close proximity to interstates, ports & rail

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A number of four year universities are located within one hour of Columbus County, with attractive benefits to pursuing education, such as $500 per semester tuition at UNCP. This allows industries easy access to workforce training options for potential employees. 


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We think you'll like what we have to offer


Affordable country living with easy beach access. Situated in southeastern North Carolina, Columbus County offers businesses and residents an outstanding location in proximity to local lakes, beaches, golf courses, and the historic port city of Wilmington. Our rich agricultural heritage combined with a diligent workforce and excellent infrastructure have created the foundation for a strong agri-business and food processing cluster -- one that will only strengthen as the surrounding area continues to grow. 


Recreational opportunities are abundant in Columbus County. Golf, youth athletics, hiking and fishing at Lake Waccamaw State Park and zipline fun at Cape Fearless Extreme are just a few of the many ways to get out and enjoy the mild climate and open land. Known for a rich legacy of players and coaches, baseball is strong in Columbus County. MacKenzie Gore, pitcher for Whiteville High School, was recognized as the 2016-2017 National Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year and was the MLB third draft pick in 2017. In 1986, Sports Illustrated declared Whiteville "Baseball Town U.S.A." In 2017 and 2018, Whiteville High School baseball teams won back-to-back state championships and have earned nine state championships in team history. 


Population - Columbus County 57,182 (2016) & North Carolina 10.27 million (2017)

Current growth rates - Columbus County 0.4% & North Carolina 1.1%


  • Columbus County - FY 2017-2018 $0.8050 per $100 valuation

  • City of Whiteville - FY 2017-2018 $0.530

  • Town of Chadbourn - FY2017-2018 - $0.6200

  • Town of Fair Bluff - FY2017-2018 - $0.6500

  • Town of Lake Waccamaw - FY 2017-2018 $0.2000

  • Town of Tabor City - FY 2017-2018 $0.6700


  • Labor Force - Columbus County 21,326 employed and 1,022 unemployed

  • Unemployment - Columbus County 4.6% unemployment rate

  • Average Weekly Wage - Columbus County $687 average weekly wage


Higher Education

  • Southeastern Community College


  • 18 county schools

  • 4 Whiteville city schools

  • Columbus Charter elementary & middle school

  • Columbus Christian Academy

  • Columbus Adventist Academy

  • Graduation rate is 85%

North Carolina County Labor Market Conditions for Wilmington MSA. Prepared by the Labor & Economic Analysis, North Carolina Department of Commerce July, 2018.

Columbus County Economic Development Commission

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Gary Lanier
Director, CCEDC

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Samantha Alsup
Columbus County Planning Director


Madison Ward
Senior Administrative Support Specialist


 CCEDC  Board Members

John Blosser
Local Business Owner

Tally Bowen
Coastal Carolina Behavioral Health

Giles E. (Buddy) Byrd
Columbus County Commissioner


Jerry Freeman
Columbus County Hospital Regional Hospital (retired)

Troy Goss
Columbus County Animal Control (retired)

Rep. Brenden Jones
N.C. House District 46



Mitchel Tyler
Columbus County Courthouse Administrator (retired)

R. C. Soles, Jr. 
N.C. Senator (retired)

Michael Stephens
Manager, Columbus County





J.E. Thompson
Building Contractor

Les High
Chair, Columbus Jobs Foundation (ex-officio)

Dr. Gary Lanier
Economic Development Director (ex-officio)